Currently working on a dual build for a friend. Here are the requirements.
1. Have similar interface in both the family room and basement media room.
2. Ability to rip legally owned Bluray's and DVD in full quality to hard drive and have the ability to play with full menu, subtitle etc
3. Have cover art, back drop images and meta data for all media
4. System should be scalable
5. Ability to route HD audio from HTPC to two Onkyo HD audio capable receivers
6. Ability to play 3D Bluray
7. Ability to play music with least hassle using a combination of itunes running on the server and other apps and finally
8. Ability to record programs in HD from Dish network and share the recorded video in multiple rooms.
Considering all these requirements, I decided on doing a Windows Media Center based build for both the rooms. After consultation with Damian (http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com/) - an amazing HTPC enthusiast and knowledgeable person, I decided on the following parts. I would also like to thank Assasin over at the avsforum.com website for his list of good parts for a bluray/3d bluray capable system based on the new Intel processors. The new I3/I5/I7 Sandybridge processors can do HD Audio, Bluray and 3d Bluray with ease and thus avoid the need for an internal Video card.
Just finished the second build for the basement with the following parts. This will just act as a client and play all the media stored in the main machine at the ground level and also from a HP EX495 10TB server.
1.Core i3 2100 - http://www.newegg.com/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078
2.4GB DDR3 1066 RAM - http://www.newegg.com/Productaspx?Item=N82E16820231396"
3.2TB HItachi 6GBPS hard drive
4.Silverstone LC10B case
5.Antec 400watch 80plus certified power supply
6.Samsung dual layer DVD burner
7.Windows 7 home premium 64 bit.
Here are some pictures from the build. Will be doing the main build this week and the installation is scheduled for this saturday (April 30th). Will post installation pictures over the weekend.